Nigeria: National Assembly Pledges to Expunge Laws Infringing On Women’s Rights

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The National Assembly yesterday expressed its readiness to amend the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to ensure gender parity, as well as enact laws to improve the fortunes of women and girls in Nigeria.

This is just as the Senate also resolved to expunge provisions of the law as contained in the Police Act, Federal Character Law, Electoral Act, Labour Act, and Political Parties Constitutions, which infringe on the rights of women in the country.

The Red Chamber also urged the National Assembly and the federal government to forge positive visibility for women and celebrate women’s achievements, as well as domesticate all conventions and treaties of the African Union in respect of gender issues.

These resolutions were sequel to the adoption of a motion on the 2021 International Women’s Day Celebration with the theme: ‘Women in Leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-l9 world #Choose to Challenge’, which was sponsored by Senator Betty Apiafi and seven other senators, six of which are women.

The co-sponsors of the motion are Senators Aisha Dahiru Ahmed (Adamawa Central); Oluremi Tinubu (Lagos Central); Biodun Olujimi (Ekiti South); Akon Eyakenyi (Akwa Ibom South); Stella Oduah (Anambra North); Uche Lillian Ekwunife (Anambra South), and Chimaroke Nnamani (Enugu East).

Coming under Order 42 and 52 of the Senate Standing Rules, Apiafi noted that the International Women’s Day, which is celebrated on March 8 every year, is a day set aside globally to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.

According to her, the Women’s Day is also a day to aspire and inspire the people to act in the ongoing effort for gender equality.

According to her, “Given the pandemic, we now more than ever before need to challenge pre-existing biases against women, some of which are systemic, political, cultural, and social. With the pandemic, we have new barrier which include an increase in domestic violence, unpaid care duties, unemployment and poverty. We have to be intentional about tackling these pre-existing and new biases to give women the opportunities to thrive.

“Even at the national level, gender inequality still exists. For instance, there is record of only one female governor in Nigerian history and only one female deputy governor while the rest are men.

“The ninth National Assembly in Nigeria has only record of seven female senators while the rest are men. Again, there are only seven female ministers in Nigeria and they represent about 15.91 percent of the entire 44-member ministerial list. This yet again reflects the need for gender equality.”

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